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HSBC experiments with digital TV loan service

HSBC, the bank which pulled out of point-of-sale vehicle finance when it withdrew its Forward Trust brand, is experimenting in digital television as a way of reaching car loan customers.

Tim Holmes, director of HSBC Vehicle Finance, told delegates at the Leasing Life conference in London of his bank's success with interactive digital television as a shop window for CarChoice, its personal contract purchase car finance scheme. He said motor finance and leasing companies needed to consider new channels to market if they are to broaden their customer base.

“Market penetration of digital television has doubled in the past year and six million homes now have access,” said Mr Holmes. “That figure will rise to 20m by 2005.”

Mr Holmes said using digital television helped overcome many of the concerns customers felt about the internet, notably security and privacy.

He said customers had a “deeper emotional attachment” to their television rather than their computer and trusted it more with things such as credit card details. He said 10% of CarChoice sales last year had been completed through interactive television.

But he warned finance providers not to skimp on the fulfilment process. Buyers were still wary of not having paper records and the lack of a personal relationship with the seller.

Mr Holmes said HSBC was unsure also whether television was the best business-to-business medium for fleet car sales. “Although the technology lends itself to reaching all drivers, the computer and the internet still dominate more as a business tool,” he said.

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